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Peace in Troubled Times

By Henry Nelson



  2nd Corinthians 12:10 “So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me. Since I know it is all for Christ’s good, I am quite content with my weaknesses and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”   The times we are living in are very troublesome times. A few years ago, we were relatively secure and the economy was still going strong. Then after September 11, it all changed. America headed into a recession, and worse we no longer felt safe in our own homes. Still there is great trouble in the Middle East, and the U.S. is finding that more and more Europe is turning against us. We are told that further terrorist attacks are inevitable. Nothing is certain anymore. On top of all that, our own individual problems have not gone away. For some of us, right now may be a great time personally, but others may be going through very uncertain and difficult times too.Now, none of us likes change. None of us likes uncertainty. We are always going to have a certain level of worry when we know that hard times are ahead of us. However, you can by examining Jesus’ discourse with the disciples, learn how to get through those times without worrying. {{more}}John 14:1-4 says, “Do not be troubled. You trust God, now trust in me. There are many rooms in my Father’s home, and I am going to prepare a place for you. If this were not so, I would tell you plainly. When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. And you know where I am going and how to get there.” Amen!Now, Jesus knowing the future which lay before his disciples gave them encouragement to get them through. The first thing he says to them is “You trust in God, now trust in me.” This is really the foundation for finding peace to get through these tough times. All of the other things that he said to them were hinged upon this one secret. Trust In Him He goes on to explain some of the reasons and the ways that they can trust in him, but he never really moves beyond trust as the thing that will get them through.Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Amen!This verse tells us not to worry about anything, but to pray. I find the focus here interesting. It does not say that if you do not worry but pray, God will instantly change all of your circumstances so there’s nothing left to worry about. That is not trust. That’s faith. And faith is necessary. Sometimes God does want to miraculously change your circumstances. But if that’s how it was every time, then when Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, then God would have said, “Okay, I will make another way. You do not have to go to the cross,” but as we know, that is not what happened at all. There was no change in Jesus’ circumstances because of that prayer, and yet that prayer was not wasted or a failure. Instead, I believe it was in that prayer that Jesus found the strength to do what was necessary to go to the cross. It was his Trust in God that led him to pray, “yours will be done” and it was this trust that gave him peace.Trust and faith are really similar words, almost treated as synonyms sometimes, but really they are miles apart. Faith is what moves a mountain or calms a raging storm. But do you know what is greater than faith? What I find more spectacular than Jesus calming the storm, was his trust in God that allowed him to be fast asleep in perfect peace while the storm raged all around him. Faith is knowing that God can change things. Trust is knowing that God will do what is best. It is trust that keeps you floating until the miracle comes. Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep in perfect peace all whom trust in you, whose thoughts are fixed on you!” Amen!Many times in your lives, the situations may seem hopeless. You may even question, “Where is God in all this?” You may wonder how anything good could possibly come of this situation.Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Amen!Maybe we use this verse so much in Christianity that it becomes a cliché, but the fact is that it is a very real truth from God’s word. No matter what the enemy throws your way, God will turn it into good. You can trust God, because he assures you that there is a reason for it. He did not send the trials your way. Sometimes He does not stop them because he plans to do something great through them. We may not always see right now what good is going to come of it, but that’s where trust comes in. God says it will turn into good. You may see it someday, and you may never recognize it, but good will come.Jesus knew that his disciples could not survive the turmoil that was ahead forever, but he was able to promise them that there may be storm clouds ahead, but there will be sunshine on the other side.Psalm 30:5 says, “Weeping may go on all night, but joy comes with the morning. You may feel today like your circumstances will never change. You may feel like you have entered the never-ending-valley-of-the-shadow-of-death. In fact, I do not know your situations, but someone reading this could very well feel like it’s the end of the world, but Jesus promises you that your trials will not last forever. Amen!Even on the earth, he will provide a way out for you, but your ultimate release is going to come when he returns to get us like he promised. He will take us out of the grip of this world and its troubles forever. And at that time, every unfair trial and circumstance you were put through will be made right.Job was put through a terrible trial. First, having been rich, he lost all of his possessions. He lost his cattle, his house, and his children. Then Satan cursed him with a terrible sickness. Even his wife advised him to curse God and die. But in that moment, we see the most intense trust of God’s deliverance. Job knew that no matter what he was going through now, he could endure it, because it would not last forever. As surely as his problem existed, one day his vindicator would stand triumphant.So many times when we are in a stormy time, it seems that something is missing and that there is something you need to get out. But Jesus said, “You have everything you need, as long as you know me.” And I would like to briefly mention that he is not talking about knowing about him. He is talking about the way you know your husband or wife, or your kids or brothers and sisters. This is a knowledge that comes with time and companionship. It is this personal and intimate relationship with Christ that will get you through the hard times. If Christianity is just ritual for you, something you do out of a sense of requirement, then you are going to give up in the hard times. If Christianity is for you a very real friendship with the Living Savior of the World, then that relationship will help get you through.King David went through some terrible times being chased by Saul. I am sure there were times when he felt so all-alone, but I remember his response to that from the 23rd Psalm. Psalm 23:4 says, “Even when I walk through the dark valley of death, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.” Amen! It is the Presence of God with you that will help you to get through your tough times. Knowing that no matter what you go through, you won’t be alone because God will walk through right beside you, and see you safely through to the other side. Now you know why there is peace in troubled times. Amen!

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